John's Grocery Inc.


104 Ratings
John's Grocery Inc.John's Grocery Inc.

Type: Store

401 E Market St
Iowa City, Iowa, 52245-2628
United States

(319) 337-2183 | map

Specializes in imported beer and glassware; also known as “Dirty John’s” for selling Playboy magazines in the 1950s.

Monday - Thursday: 7:30am –- Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 7:30am -– 2:00am)
Sunday: 9:00am –- Midnight

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Ratings: 104 |  Reviews: 65
Reviews by woodychandler:
Photo of woodychandler
5/5  rDev +9.2%

Great Caesar’s Ghost! Just like in Wichita, I seemed incapable of reading a map. I had this on my list of places that I wanted to visit, but not as my first stop. Instead, I wanted to drink a beer first. My faulty map reading landed me right on their doorstep and once I identified myself through a copy of the current issue of Ale Street News which was sitting in The Beer Room, the owner, Doug Alberhasky, gave me a tour of the place.

It was opened in 1848 and his grandparents took it over in 1958. It is one of only twenty-eight family-owned grocery stores in Iowa City and Doug said that they maintain a constant vigilance of the chains that would love to subvert their business. There have been five additions to the original building and they even have three apartments on the second floor, plus the mechanical room.

The Beer Room was all of the way aft, on the right hand side and had not only a huge selection of singles on shelves, but also a walk-in cooler for sixes, which were not to be broken. Doug relented on this dictum for me, since I really wanted a single bottle of Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere, which I had only ever tried on-tap. All of the lights in the store have UV filters to reduce the chance of the beer getting light struck. I was also taken down into “The Cave”, which is a remnant of Iowa City’s first icehouse, which is now used as underground storage for all of the beer that does not fit upstairs. The depth and breadth of their selection was astounding.

After we came up from “The Cave”, Doug then led me out a side door on the right side of the building, across the parking lot, up a flight of steps, across the porch of what was once a private residence, and into their glassware and memorabilia outlet. My jaw dropped. For Phatz, MugHugger, and BitterBeerFace: yinz were talking last night about having appropriate glassware on hand and this place’s website would be a great place to shop. The entirety of this store was just mind blowing!

Whoops! I almost forgot to mention the nickname for this establishment: “Dirty John’s”. It is not that it is not kept-up. Au contraire, mes amis! It begins at immaculate and works upward. No, instead, it refers to a time in the early 1960’s, shortly after Doug’s grandfather, John, had taken over. Playboy was delivered in bundles and before John arrived to take them in, the bundle was purloined by some neighborhood boys, who, when caught, claimed that John had sold them the magazines. The investigating officer called to find out if this was true and the conversation went something like this: “Dirty John, are you peddling smut to kids out of that store of yours?” The name stuck. I should have bought a copy for nostalgia sake, but I did not think of it at the time.

 2,774 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of lemmy187
4.23/5  rDev -7.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Dr_Fox
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of dcotom
4.31/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Photo of Taybeh
4.11/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of Angerhaus
4.22/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of tillmac62
4.36/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Ivan52
5/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best place for beer and spirits in all of Iowa and maybe beyond.

64 characters

Photo of burtonryan
4.31/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 5

Photo of mrjbrown27
4.44/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Photo of hoosier222002
4.42/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.84/5  rDev +5.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

Photo of elkinbrown
4.57/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of wapcap
3.57/5  rDev -22.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.5

A small grocery downtown.
They seemed to have a good selection. Nothing blew me away though. Its a grocery store so you can get some foods of course.
I'd recommend stopping if you are in the area.

 196 characters

Photo of spacecake9
4.75/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Great place, a real surprise in Iowa. Lots of great beer to choose from. Most of the American craft beers are in the cooler so they are ready for drinking!

 157 characters

Photo of ALC82
4.66/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Reinbeck11
4.67/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

Photo of JessLehn
4.89/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best beer selection in town!

28 characters

Photo of jak
4.29/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.38/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

It's a little cramped, but it has a good selection and you are going to get decent service. Definitely worth going to if you are in the area.

142 characters

Photo of KAF
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of heyheymdn
5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of NathanStelter
5/5  rDev +9.2%

Always stop in here when I'm in Iowa City...selection is consistently strong and broad.

87 characters

Photo of Spike-likes-beer
5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of beersdmf17
4.5/5  rDev -1.7%

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John's Grocery Inc. in Iowa City, IA
4.58 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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